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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Giving of your time....Giving back

When I was young, we'd go see my grandparents once a week in Napa during the summer.  We'd go on Wednesdays each week as that was our set day to visit.  I would sometimes ask why we couldn't go a different day.  My mom would say that it did not fit in with ours or my grandma's schedule.  I did inquire more about this and one thing really stood out.

Every Tuesday morning my grandma would volunteer for the Lutheran Braille program at St. John's Lutheran Church in Napa, California.  I recall at one point that she was the person leading the program.  The volunteers would use a braille printer to press pages to create Bible books for the blind.  They would also bind the books.  

As the years passed, my grandma aged, and ended up with health issues in her 70s near the end of her life. She had to give up her volunteerism.  Her obituary indicated that if people wanted to donate that they should give to the American Cancer Society or the Society For The Blind.   I recently looked up the Lutheran Braille program to find that it still exists today.  

What a way to give back to your church and community!   

About a year and half ago, I was attending a Girl Scout leadership meeting for our local service unit.  There was a woman present who had been a Girl Scout for over 50 years.  She had started as a young girl and continued to volunteer her time to the organization as an adult.  She was a cheery, friendly little lady.  Her goal at the meeting was to teach us a song for the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.   She got all of the troop leaders in attendance singing along to this newly learned song. 

Yet, another example of giving back to your community!

I have many other examples of people giving back too.  I used to work with a gentleman who was a leader within the organization that I worked for full-time.  Outside of his normal work hours, he would man the phones at a suicide hotline.  He would especially make time in the evening of various holidays to answer calls.  He was always vague about his experiences and conversations with people who were on the edge.  Suffice it say, I am certain he saved many and listened intently to everything that they said.  

This example of giving back really tops my list because most people are not cut out for this type of work!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how some people have it in them to give back with their time, while others sit by and watch it happen.  I came across the following online the other day:

I would rephrase the final line to say, "Let's see how many people can figure out a way to volunteer their time in helping others."

Time and time again, I have found several of my ancestors giving back to their community and church.  Several of my relatives helped start their church in their given community whether it was in Upstate New York or in Napa, California.  They gave money, time, and energy.  Even if you're not religious, you must recognize that churches are "community-centric" and give many people a place to belong, get help, and help others.

Even on this given day, I find that I could be doing more to give of myself and still seek the one thing....that one volunteer job where I can make an impact.  So far, my days take me to volunteering for the Girl Scouts, at my children's school, and in creation of the school yearbook (which includes mentoring students who create the pages).  As I write this down, I realize just how rewarding these "give backs" are.  Mind you, I give little money but give a whole lot of time.  My reward is all of the smiling faces that I see, most of which are children.

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